There has long been a visual component to the work of most any social media company. But as the landscape of the web continues to evolve, visual content is taking up more and more space. For many a social media company, Instagram is a crucial elements of client marketing campaigns, with relevant content comprised almost entirely of photographs or artwork. But more than that, Twitter and Facebook are increasingly used for visual communication as well, in the form of short clips, longer videos, captioned images, and animated gifs.
For a social media company, this ongoing trend represents the need for adaptation and recurring analysis. Too much or too little emphasis on a certain type of content might cause an account to appear out of step with its social media environment. And depending on your audience and the nature of your competition, that can degrade public engagement.
At the same time, with visual content potentially taking overwhelming text, a social media company may actually confront certain perils by keeping pace. This is to say, text remains central to how users find content, whether by direct search or by algorithm. Although machine learning is constantly getting better at indexing visual images, it is a long way from taking over that role from an individual user or a social media company.
So while current trends and public preferences regarding online content might prompt a social media company to put more emphasis on images, the same company must also take steps to compensate for the loss of textual markers. Somewhat paradoxically, putting more effort into visual content means a social media company must also put more effort into text. Small numbers of characters must be managed efficiently to give platforms and their users the best possible chance of associating visual content with the key terms they are interested.